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I’m Linda, and my style is to keep my blog posts short and sweet, and always insightful. My goal is to help you expand your thinking and your world, to thrive and feel good about you.


in whites

Aug 18, 2020

Labels are a fact of life

 
 
Heather asked:

Ever since the BLM movement really gained traction this year, the term “white person” feels more and more accusatory and rude; almost like I’m being attacked personally. Not every white person is racist. But I feel like I’m being lumped in with the rest of them. There’s got to be a better way to discuss this.


I’m glad you brought this up, Heather. Unfortunately, this is the hard truth: There is no special formula, no magical wand that will ease your discomfort when discussing race or racism.  However, you can be better prepared the next time you have a race discussion or other experience once you understand the difference between “white people” as a reference to the structure of whiteness and that of a personal reference to you a person who may be white.

Generally, the term “white people” refers to the institution of whiteness, which has been the bar that everyone else has had to measure against.  This is what we all live with. On the other hand, I can also understand that you wouldn’t want to be grouped with the bad apples, right? Just keep in mind this one important point: Blacks have lived with labels for centuries. Those labels have changed over time, but the fact remains no matter how degrading they were then and still are, it’s something Blacks have been forced to accept without exception.  

I strongly suspect the reason why you feel so prickly when you hear “white people” is because this is the first time ever that whites collectively have an inkling of what a label feels like. So, the way I see it Heather, you have a choice; learn to tell the difference between “white people” and you, or deny that you have any part in the white consciousness. Neither choice is comfortable. Yet only one will guarantee balanced growth. Your single question shows how a willing heart simply needs a little nudge toward further introspection.

Always envision the best.

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